The Ascension of the Lord (José Antonio Pagola)

Ross Reyes DizonHomilies and reflections, Year CLeave a Comment

Author: José Antonio Pagola · Translator: Rosalino Reyes Dizon. · Year of first publication: 2013.
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The blessing of Jesus

They are Jesus’ last moments with his own.  He will presently leave them to enter definitively the mystery of the Father.  He can no longer accompany them along the roads in the world as he has done in Galilee.  No one can replace his presence.  The only thing in Jesus’ mind is that his announcement of forgiveness and mercy may reach all nations.  May all heed his call to repentance.  No one has to feel lost.  No one should live without hope.

All have to know that God understands and loves all his sons and daughters endlessly.  Who can announce his Good News?

According to Luke’s account, Jesus is not thinking of priests and bishops.  Nor of those who have doctorate degrees or of theologians.  He wants to leave behind on earth “witnesses.”  What is primary is this:  “You are witnesses of these things.”  Jesus’ witnesses will be those who will communicate their experience of a good God and will infect others with their lifestyle while working for a more human world.

But Jesus knows his disciples well.  They are weak and cowardly.  Where will they find the courage to dare to be witnesses of someone who has been crucified by the representative of the Empire and the administrators of the Temple?  Jesus reassures them:  “I am sending the promise of my Father upon you.”  They will not lack “power from on high.”  God’s Spirit will defend them.

To express graphically Jesus’ desire, the evangelist Luke describes his departure, in a surprising way, from this world:  Jesus returns to the Father raising his hands and blessing his disciples.  This is his last gesture.   Jesus enters the unfathomable mystery of God and his blessing comes down on the world.

We Christians have forgotten that we are bearers of the blessing of Jesus.  Our first task is to be witnesses of the Goodness of God.   To keep hope alive.  Not to give up in the face of evil.  This world that seems to be a “a hell of an accursed place” is not lost.  God looks at it with tenderness and compassion.

Today, too, it is possible to achieve what is good, to do what is good, to spread what is good.  It is possible to work for a more human world and a more wholesome lifestyle.  We can be more supportive of each other and less selfish.  More austere and less enslaved by money.  The economic crisis itself can push us to pursue a less corrupt society.

We in Jesus’ Church have forgotten that what is primary is to promote a “pastoral action on goodness.”  We have to feel we are the witnesses and prophets of this Jesus who spent his life sowing acts and words of goodness.  Thus did he awaken in the people of Galilee hope in a saving God.  Jesus is a blessing and the people have to know it.

José Antonio Pagola

May 12, 2013
Ascension of the Lord (C)
Luke 24, 46-53

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